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Albany anti war conference plans protests

By Meredith Aby-Keirstead |
July 26, 2010
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Fernando Figueroa, an activist with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
Fernando Figueroa, an activist with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in Florida, speaking at Albany conference. (Fight Back! News/Meredith Aby)

Albany, NY - The National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now met in Albany, New York, July 23-25. Around 700 activists from across the country came together to discuss and debate how to build the anti-war movement and to plan for coordinated days of protest.

Fernando Figueroa, an activist with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in Florida, explained the role of the conference, "The workshops, resolutions and networking opportunities provided by this national peace conference are exactly the tools the student movement in general and SDS in particular need to build our movement. We are more determined now to end the wars in the Middle East and stop U.S. military aggression abroad than ever before."

At the conference, participants voted to organize for local actions between October 7 and 16 and for bi-coastal national protests on April 9 to focus on ending the U.S. wars and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The conference supported emergency response actions to occur if the U.S. attacks or sponsors attacks on Iran and North Korea. The most significant vote was in solidarity with Palestine and in opposition to U.S. aid to Israel. The situation in Gaza and the deaths of the flotilla activists weighed heavily on the participants’ hearts and minds. The conference voted overwhelmingly to support and organize actions in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Sarah Martin, a Palestine solidarity activist with Women Against Military Madness from Minnesota, said, "The many Palestine workshops were overflowing, proposals for solidarity and pro-Palestinian t-shirts were everywhere and the action proposal dealing with Palestine was strong and passed overwhelmingly."

The conference ended with a rally and march organized by the Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project Salam in support of Muslims targeted by pre-emptive prosecution. The march concluded at a local mosque that had been raided by the FBI. Family members of New York Muslims and activists spoke out about the persecution of the Muslim community that happened in the name of ‘homeland security.’ They denounced the trumped-up charges against Muslims and how they are used as an excuse for U.S. wars abroad.